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A stunning tribute to aviation in New Zealand – a celebration of our planes and people.

New Zealand has long held a passion for its aviation history – the bravado, ingenuity and trailblazing spirit says a lot about who we are. Classic Planes celebrates that legacy, from the first fledgling beginnings to the present day.

With eloquence and colour, bestselling author Ivor Wilkins ­traces the story of planes in New Zealand, beginning with the exploits of Richard Pearse and shining a light on other local pioneers, Jean Batten and Tim Wallis among them. He also examines the machines from bygone eras, celebrating those who lovingly restore planes in the modern day, and revels in our ongoing love affair with winged wonders. Tiger moths and taperwings comingle with staggerwings, spitfires, mosquitoes and Mustangs, all figures of our airborne past.

In Classic Planes, breathtaking new photography is complemented by archival imagery, revealing a truly special and important celebration of planes and people.

As the author notes in his preface: ‘love is in the air’ . . .


A wonderful book that should grace any self-respecting aviation enthusiast's coffee table.

Keith Morris, NZ Aviation News

Celebrating New Zealand’s rich aviation history, [Classic Planes] is full of vivid colourful photos and extensive coverage of our historical planes ... Ever thankful for the community of aviators, this is ‘their book’ and a fitting tribute to their dedication.

Wairarapa Times-Age Weekend

Wilkins knows his audience and has fondly traced the story of planes in New Zealand ... The photography is splendid, attention to detail impeccable.

Virginia Larson, North and South

The photography soars; the design is crisp and appealing. It's also meticulously researched and enthusiastically written, celebrating people and planes.

Weekend Herald

[A] captivating book about our ongoing love affair with winged wonders.

Wanganui Chronicle

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    October 30, 2017

    RHNZ Godwit

    432 pages

    RRP $95.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory